On Wednesday, November 20, at approximately 5:25 p.m., the Emergency Communications Center (911) received a hang-up call from the 7-Eleven located at 13001 Wisteria Drive in Germantown. The 911 call taker called the store back and an employee answered, “I cannot talk to you because I have trouble. Can you come fast? Please help!” The line then disconnected.
The first officer entered the store and observed multiple employees and customers to include a small child. The officer asked an employee if everything was okay. The employee stated “No, he’s armed with a knife!” and pointed toward a male suspect at the counter. At that time, the suspect, later identified as Rodney Taylor-Smith, stepped back from the counter holding a knife with blades protruding from each end. The officer drew her service weapon and ordered Taylor-Smith to drop the knife. The officer repeated her commands several times, but Taylor-Smith refused to comply. The officer then ordered customers to move away from Taylor-Smith to the back of the store. Some customers moved toward the back of the store while others ran out of the rear door.
Additional officers arrived at the store and ordered Taylor-Smith to drop the knife. Taylor-Smith again refused, squared his body directly toward officers, and told officers to drop their guns. At that point, an officer deployed her Taser twice; both deployments were unsuccessful. Taylor-Smith then put the knife in his jacket pocket.
After several minutes of negotiating with Taylor-Smith, an officer recognized an opportunity and tackled Taylor-Smith to the ground (this officer’s body-worn camera video is below). Officers arrested Taylor-Smith without injury to him or others.
Witnesses said the incident began when Taylor-Smith approached the store counter to return an item. When employees explained that he needed a receipt, Taylor-Smith brandished a knife.
Rodney Taylor-Smith, age 47, of Middlebrook Road in Germantown, was taken to the Central Processing Unit and charged with multiple counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. Taylor-Smith is being held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.
5th District Commander Mark Plazinski stated, “These officers placed themselves in harm’s way to resolve this incident. I hope every county resident appreciates the courage and decisive actions that this peaceful resolution took. Our officers are trained in negotiation and de-escalation, but when the suspect will not comply, we just cannot walk away. This could have easily ended with the suspect shot, but I am extremely proud that the officers’ firearms discipline and heroic actions were able to guarantee the safety of everyone. The commitment by the officers to risk their own well-being to ensure the safety of the community is commendable and will be recognized accordingly. In this season of thanks, I am grateful to work with such brave and highly trained women and men.”
**Note to media: Three of the officers involved in this incident will be available for interviews at 3 p.m. today (Wednesday, November 27) at the 5th District Police Station located at 20000 Aircraft Drive in Germantown. Please call the Public Information Division at 240-773-5030 (press option #4 when you hear the phone tree) to confirm your attendance.